In the Headlines

► Maney Gordon Zeller: Jack Gordon (Consumer Protection Law; Medical Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs; Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs, 2018) represented the parents of a 6-year-old boy in their lawsuit against the Pasco County School Board. The conflict began after the first-grader kneeled during a classroom recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, prompting a letter home to the family from the boy’s teacher that the parents found threatening. While the school argued that parents are required to notify teachers if their children wish to kneel during the pledge and anthem, Gordon said that his clients were not informed of this policy until after the boy was reprimanded.

► Morgan & Morgan: John A. Yanchunis (Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions – Plaintiffs, 2018) and the firm are suing the marketing and data firm Exactis for leaving 230 million consumers vulnerable by leaving data exposed to the public. In a press release, Yanchunis wrote, “Exactis must be held accountable for purportedly leaving hundreds of millions of individuals and businesses vulnerable to identity theft, fraud, and loss of privacy.” Attorneys from Morgan & Morgan previously filed class action suits over data breaches at Yahoo and Equifax. 

► Shutts & Bowen: Suzanne Labrit (Commercial Litigation, 2018) represented the United States Automobile Association in a dispute against the Herssein Law Group over attorney fees and an alleged breach of contract. The case escalated to the Supreme Court when an attorney for Herssein asked the judge be dismissed over her friendship with a lawyer on the opposing side. Labrit disagreed, telling the justices that friendship on Facebook does not necessarily imply an intimate, off-screen relationship. “LeBron James and I are friends on Facebook,” she told the court. “He probably couldn’t pick me out in a lineup.”

Honorable Mention

► The Barry A. Cohen Legal Team: Renowned criminal defense attorney Barry Cohen, recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© for Criminal Defense since its first edition in 1983, passed in his Florida home September 22 after a battle with leukemia. A fixture in the Tampa legal community, Cohen notably defended Steven and Marlene Aisenberg, who came under scrutiny after the disappearance of their 5-month-old baby. Cohen successfully got the charges dropped—and won the clients $3 million in legal fees. Cohen frequently supported liberal candidates as they ran for office, even maintaining a friendship with U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the Tampa Bay Times reported. "His legacy is as a fighter, standing up for the weak and the marginalized and those who needed help," Hillsborough County’s State Attorney Andrew Warren told the Times in its tribute to Cohen.

► Gunster, Yoakley & Stewart: Aaron Horowitz (Commercial Litigation, 2018) received the inaugural young lawyer member of the year award by the Florida Bar Association’s alternative dispute regulation section. Per a release by the firm, the award honors attorneys who have shown “leadership and dedication to the Florida Bar, the ADR section, or the section’s mission through executive council or committee service, volunteerism, significant professional contributions, or the creative exchange of ideas.” Horowitz presently oversees the bar’s alternative dispute regulation section and chairs its business, real property, and disputes committee.

► Jung and Sisco: William F. Jung (Bet-the-Company Litigation; Criminal Defense: General Practice; Criminal Defense: White-Collar, 2006) was confirmed by the Senate on September 6 to serve as Tampa’s next federal judge. Jung was nominated to serve twice previously under Presidents George W. Bush and Barak Obama in 2008 and 2016, respectively. He was re-nominated by President Donald Trump in 2017. Prior to starting his practice, Jung was an assistant United States attorney for six years in the state’s middle and southern districts.

ITN Feature

► Marine’s Wife “Self Deports” to Avoid Detainment

Maney Gordon Zeller: Richard Maney (Immigration Law, 2018) represented the wife of a U.S. Marine who left her home in Davenport for a new life in Mexico after her deportation became inevitable. Alejandra Juarez, a mother of two, was denied citizenship in 2001 over statements she made in 1998 while seeking asylum at the border. While her immigration status did not pose a significant problem in the past—she had been checking in with Immigration and Customs officials since a traffic stop in 2013—Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy rapidly changed Juarez’s circumstances.

Juarez decided to “self deport” to the country she has not lived in for 20 years to avoid detainment by immigration authorities. She elected to settle in Merida, where a “community of deported military spouses might help her,” the Orlando Sentinel reported. According to data from one organization—the immigration advocacy group American Families United—roughly 11,800 serving in the military have a spouse or family facing deportation.

Juarez’s 8-year-old daughter, Estela Juarez, spoke at a press conference on the day Trump announced a new military budget at the Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride. “I ask President Trump to please let my mom stay because she is a great mom and I don’t understand why we have to leave her,” Estela Juarez said. “She has been there every day of my life and I can’t imagine leaving her. Please, President Trump, I ask that you let her stay.”

Speaking to the Sentinel, Maney said, "This is not going to be the last case like this . . . this is potentially the first of many. There are many military spouses in the same situation."